To fit this week's theme on 'A Rewarding Career', we have spoken to Karen about her diverse role as an Independent Living Advisor in Sheffield.
Karen has worked for Guinness Care for 6 years and has recently initiated a Pen Pals+ project, which is connecting customers from across the organisation, reducing loneliness and boosting community morale. We asked Karen the following questions about her role at Guinness Care.
The Pen-Pals+ project was launched during the first lockdown, with an idea to reduce the number customers who may be at risk of being isolated and to encourage people to develop new friendships and maintain social contacts in a Covid-19 safe manner.
Take us through a day in your work-life.
I get up early 5:30am to walk my dog and have breakfast before setting off on a 50min drive to work at my regular scheme at Gilbert Court in Sheffield. I listen to the radio en route and think about what’s in store for the day.
I have a much-needed cup of coffee as soon as I get on scheme to get my brain going, do my morning checks and call the residents to make sure everyone’s okay. At the minute, we are making all welfare calls from our offices due to Covid-19 and I’m looking forward to being able to get back out and start seeing people a bit more again when that happens. I’ve missed seeing my customers in their own homes.
We had a new digital warden call system fitted at Gilbert Court, this allows people to video call each other, though. It’s a good alternative and has helped during the lockdown.
I work Monday - Friday 8:00am - 3:30pm, and I self-manage my own diary, which is great because being an Independent Living Advisor is such a responsive role. I could be liaising with social services about a customer’s care package one minute and the next minute I’m raising an emergency repair because the communal washers are leaking while mopping up the water!
You can never judge what a day is going to be like, but it’s made easier when your supported to be flexible.
What is the Guinness Care PenPals+ Project?
Pen-Pals+ started last year to try and reduce isolation for our customers who were particularly vulnerable.
We developed it to include emails, texts and zoom calls which really made it hit off. We have successfully connected customers in the North and have had great feedback about the joy it brings many people.
It has also allowed me to meet new people within different areas whom I would not have had the chance to meet otherwise – especially throughout the pandemic and learn more about the business as a whole.
What has your most memorable moment been throughout the project?
Linking 2 customers up together who had exactly the same interests was magic. It made all the hard work worth it and was very rewarding to be able to say I had been a part of something so wonderful.
All the great feedback I receive and working with my colleagues Sam and Gail makes it such a great experience, too.
What do you love most about your job at Guinness Care?
I love the people I work with in Guinness Care, they are such a supportive and motivating set of people! I always feel confident to make decisions knowing I have an army of people working with me in the same way.
Explain your experience working in the care industry using just 3 words:
What final piece of advice would you give to someone who was considering a career in the care industry?
Do your research and choose your employers carefully. Ensure that you receive full training and qualifications for the role you are applying for.
Be prepared to work weekends and bank-holidays and even late nights, but also be prepared to meet some of the best people you will meet in your life, make some of the closest bonds, see some amazing things and laugh the loudest you have laughed in your life.
Are you someone who wants to work for an organisation which really makes a difference? Working in the care and support sector is one of the most rewarding jobs, where you will make some of the strongest connections with others.
Find out more about this campaign: Everyday Is Different
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In line with the Department of Health and Social Care’s campaign ‘Every Day is Different’, Guinness Care are running a month-long social media series, showcasing what it’s like to work in the care and support sector. #EverydayIsDifferent campaign run by Department of Health and Social Care - DHSC